Sean Rouse is well known as one of the breakout stars on Comedy Central’s Insomniac Tour which included: Dave Attell, Greg Giraldo, and Dane Cook. He was in Men in Black II and also on HBO’s critically acclaimed Down & Dirty with Jim Norton.
He’s dark, but he looks innocent. He’s likable but he’s highly obscene. All in all, he’s extremely entertaining. At times, just extreme. After his show, Sean hung out for drinks and chatter.
Your material is funny but also offensive. How do you feel when someone in the crowd boos you?
Well, it hurts at first, just cuz I’m a little baby. But normally, I turn on my “comic’s defense” immediately, which is, “That person’s stupid.”
If anybody boos you, on whatever joke, just say, “They’re stupid.”
Your material is so raw that if you Google your name, the phrase “Morbid Obscenity” pops up. How did that happen?
Morbid Obscenity was actually a benefit for some fat fuck up in Wisconsin. Doug Stanhope put it on to raise money so this guy could have gastrointestinal bypass surgery. We did a CD and put on some shows for him. And he got the surgery, but I dunno where he’s at now.
Some of your material can be quite dark, including topics such as, well, “retards” and “choppin’ up mouthy whores”. Lets talk about that.
Now hold on, I don’t have any “retard” jokes. I have jokes about religion, and I use “retards” in it. The joke’s religious. It’s about how “retarded people” can’t go to heaven. But it’s not a “retard” joke. It’s a religious joke. I dunno why I’m tryin to discuss this…Talkin about “choppin up mouthy whores”, oh God, I don’t remember that. I must have been extremely angry at that point of the show. I don’t hate women…that much. I would never cut up a woman and put her in the trunk. But, I could imagine throwin acid on one of ‘em though. Let me explain…if you’ve had a child, and you’ve had a woman fuck with you about your child, you could throw acid on her. And that’s one of my new jokes.
Obviously, your material is extremely raw on the stage. But what is Sean Rouse like off the stage…or do we really wanna know?
I think it’s the same. [Laughs]
Who were your favorite comedians that you looked up to before you got into comedy?
It was always (Sam) Kinison. When I was young, I would listen to his “Louder Than Hell” all the time. I’d have my mom listen, and she’d laugh even though she’d say it was awful.I didn’t really get Bill Hicks until I was older. I also listened to a lot of Carlin, Pryor, Dennis Miller—the early years.
What’s your most memorable gig?
Most memorable is probably the Insomniac Tour with Dave Attell.But the funniest thing I ever saw at a gig was actually here in this room [The old Laugh Stop, Houston, TX], Doug Stanhope was in town. There was a lady on stage named Bobby McBernie. She hadn’t been doing comedy very long, and hadn’t gotten any laughs. While she was on stage, Tommy Drake distracted her while Stanhope crawled up behind her. Stanhope dropped his pants during one of her punchlines and put his hands up in the air like, “Number one!”And the place lost it with laughter. Everyone was applauding, the crowd hit the roof. And the whole time this lady thought she hit it. She thought she figured comedy out. She was bouncin’ around all excited like she really killed it.
Comedy is wild and crazy. How do you stay focused and motivated?
It’s the only thing I ever wanted to do. I mean, I got funny in third grade, and I’ve been getting kicked outta rooms ever since.
Talk about the Sean Rouse creative writing proess.
Most of the time I just get an idea and work it out on stage. That’s how I like to do it.
If you could sum up your act in just one word, what would it be?
What can the fans expect from Sean Rouse in the future?
Workin on a new half hour special, and do some shows that I wanna pitch. And if that doesn’t work out, I guess I’ll go back to college, and I’ll get really depressed, and I guess I’ll kill myself. But tell my son I love him. [Sarcastic Laughter]
Are there any words of wisdom that you can pass on to the younger generation of comics?
From my own personal experiences and mistakes—focus on the craft, not the party. And don’t listen to other people. Do whatever the fuck you wanna do.
More on Sean Rouse right here!
Interviewed & Written by David Gavri